Archive for November, 2009

Sheed: NBA going soft

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Rasheed Wallace has been in the NBA 15 years and he spoke after Friday’s game like a true veteran who thinks the league he loves has gone way too soft.

His rant began when asked about the technical assessed when he argued about a second-quarter foul called on him for running into Toronto’s Hedo Turkoglu.

“They gotta know that he’s a damn flopper,” Wallace said. “That’s all Turkododo do. Flopping shouldn’t get you no where. He acts like I shot him.”

Wallace said that’s a cheap way to play defense.

“That’s not basketball, man. that’s not defense. That’s garbage, what it is. I’m glad I don’t have too much of it left.”

Reminded that he has three years left on his contract didn’t hold back his lecture, adding that Paul Pierce did nothing wrong on his dunk over Chris Bosh early in the fourth quarter.

“This game is watered down, watered down with all that flopping [crap],” he said. “They’re setting rules on us to the point where you’re taunting if you dunk on somebody. Paul dunked it and then he didn’t say nothing but it’s a tech.

“Let the Golden Child do that or one of the NBA Without Border kids do that, it’s all fine and dandy.”

[Hear the audio by clicking here.]

For the record, Wallace confirmed that the ‘Golden Child’ he was referring to is indeed LeBron James.

Pierce adds injury to insult

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Best Celtics‘ dunk of the young season? You be the judge … Paul Pierce over Toronto’s Chris Bosh in the C’s 116-103 win over the Raptors, Friday night (hat tip to Reds Army):

Fast Break: Celtics vs. Raptors

Friday, November 27th, 2009

BOSTON — The first half was close. The second was anything but. The Celtics broke out in the third quarter to run away with a 116-103 victory over the Raptors on Friday night at the TD Garden.

Player of the game: Rasheed Wallace broke out of his offensive slump to give the Celtics a 15-point boost off the bench. He shot 6-for-11 from the field and 3-for-6 from three-point range. In his previous five games he had shot 11-for-41 from the floor (26.8%) and 4-for-25 from behind the arc (16.0%).

Turning point: Down 61-57 early in the third quarter, the Celtics went on a 13-0 run during a five-and-a-half-minute stretch to take a nine-point lead. Rajon Rondo began the streak with a steal and a fastbreak dunk. Paul Pierce drew an offensive foul on Hedo Turkoglu, then tied the game up with a driving layin. Ray Allen converted on a three-point play to break the tie. After Rondo was blocked by Andrea Bargnani on an attempted fastbreak, Kendrick Perkins eventually connected on a dunk from Kevin Garnett. Pierce hit a pair of free throws before Garnett nailed a jumpshot. The Raptors snapped the run with a free throw by Amir Johnson.

– The Celtics scored a season-high 68  points in the paint. Their previous best had been 60 points against the Suns on November 6.

– With this win the Celtics improved to 2-3 on Fridays. They had not won on a Friday since beating the Bulls on October 30, the third game of the season.

– Celtics are now 5-2 in games in which they score more than 50 points in the first half.

Baby to have hard cast removed

Friday, November 27th, 2009

BOSTON — Glen Davis will have the hard cast on his right hand removed on Tuesday and receive a soft cast, the next step in his rehab from a fractured right thumb.

“It’s going to be soft so I can be able to move, be able to shoot, and rehab and get some flexibility back in my hand,’€ he told WEEI.com on Friday prior to the Celtics-Raptors game. ‘€œThat’s about it. Then after that, it depends on how I feel.’€

Davis injured the thumb two days before the Celtics‘ season opener and had surgery to repair it. Since then his mobility has been limited. He has been grabbing putting and squeezing it with his fingers to prevent losing muscle in his fingers. Davis will continue touching one finger to the other to increase his strength.

‘€œIt feels great to get out of this cast,’€ he said. ‘€œThen I can at least work to something else. It’s like I’ve been in this cast for so long I haven’t been able to work on anything. But now it’s like upgrading it and it depends on how I feel.’€

Davis anticipates it will be a few weeks before he can begin shooting with his right hand and has not been given a timetable for his return to the court. In the meantime he will continue improving his left-hand skills, something he believes will help his game in the long run. Davis has already seen the benefits as Rasheed Wallace shoots with both hands.

‘€œOh most definitely, most definitely, most definitely. Now I know how important my left hand is, you know? I always realized it was important but when you don’t have your right hand, you understand how important your other hand is,’€ he said. ‘€œIt’s going to help me a lot, especially on both sides of the floor, using your hands, hand-eye coordination, and things like that.”

He added, ‘€œIt’s just been really weird. Every time I’ve used my left hand it just feels so natural now. Like you know sometimes you use your left hand and it’s like ugh. Now I’ve been using it so much and been working on that, it feels natural.’€

Davis has been working out with the team and staying in condition for when he is ready to resume basketball activities. He says he is not worried about finding his way back into the Celtics’ system and believes being mentally prepared will help him ease back into playing with his teammates, many of whom joined the Cs this offseason.

‘€œYou know, I’m not even worried about that. As long as I’m in shape and mentally I’m ready to play, I think I’ll be fine,’€ he said. ‘€œBut one thing is it’s different when you’re on the court. Like you know, different conditioning. So when I get a couple of practices in with the coaches, with the team, probably travel with them, get some more conditioning and hopefully be back again soon.’€

Iverson retires: An answer, or simply more questions

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Like most NBA players Paul Pierce doesn’€™t tend to show up at many games when he’€™s not a participant. After you live in the arena, why would you choose to go to watch the show?

But Pierce made an exception in 2001 to watch Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Sixers, or more specifically, between Los Angeles and Allen Iverson. That season belonged to Iverson from the time they threw the ball up on opening night until the time he stepped over Ty Lue at the end of Game 1 of that series.

As it turned out that first game would prove to be Iverson’€™s nadir in the NBA. The Lakers recovered from that opening loss and steamrolled Philly ‘€“ cut their hearts out, as Kobe Bryant said ‘€“ en route to the Lakers first title of the Kobe-Shaq era.

Word began to filter out before Wednesday’€™s game with the Celtics and A.I.’€™s old team that Iverson was going to call it a career. Things had gone south quickly in Memphis and when even the Knicks passed on taking on the mercurial guard, his options were basically down to nobody.

Probably. Most NBA observers at the TD Garden likened the ‘€œannouncement’€ (Iverson himself has not spoken about it) as a sort of boxing retirement. Rather than leave himself out there twisting on the NBA waiver wire like a journeyman looking to catch on for one more paycheck, the move was seen as a matter of saving face.

Procedurally, it means nothing. Since he is not under contract to any team Iverson does not have to file official retirement papers with the league and therefore is still free to sign on with anyone who might have an immediate opening for a scoring guard, however unlikely that scenario may be.

Danny Ainge told the Herald this week that the Celtics have had internal conversations about Iverson but couldn’€™t come to a consensus and it’€™s doubtful that any organization would take a chance on him after the debacle in Memphis.

If this is the end, the other Celtics veterans spoke glowingly about Iverson. ‘€œI’€™m just happy I had a chance to play against him,’€ Pierce said. ‘€œHe’€™s one of the top 50 players to ever play the game.’€

Of all the Celtics, none has competed against Iverson more than Ray Allen. From their Big East days to their battle in the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals — still one of the great underrated series of the past decade — and on through the years, the two came into the league in the same draft class and the news made Allen a little wistful.

‘€œWe had a long standing history,’€ Allen said. ‘€œIt’€™s somewhat sad. He’€™s been someone who’€™s been good for a long time in this league. He’€™s someone I always competed with for a majority of my career. Not only do I think about him, but I think about my whole class and all the guys that I started with and fell off and before you know it, it’€™s a generation past. This is like gravy time for me to still be able to play and feel good about it and be strong. My body still feels great and fresh.’€

Allen was asked to reflect back on that Sixers-Bucks series when Milwaukee had Allen, Glenn Robinson and Sam Cassell and the Sixers had, well, they had Iverson and a rock solid defense anchored by Dikembe Mutombo.

‘€œThere was a lot of back and forth,’€ Allen said. ‘€œIt was a great series. The one thing about that series was anyone could have won it. We felt we had a great team that could have beat the Lakers that year. I guess it’€™s something you always talk about.’€

That Sixers team came about at exactly the right time in the city of Philadelphia and left a lasting, indelible image. After they beat the Bucks in Game 7 the streets were clogged around City Hall and a most curious thing happened in the city of Brotherly Love ‘€“ people actually showed each other love, pouring out of gridlocked cars and literally dancing in the streets.

Things may have unraveled in the aftermath, but like Pedro pitching for the Sox in the late 90’€™s, the city stopped when Iverson was playing.

‘€œHe’€™s in that five or six,’€ said Rasheed Wallace, native son. ‘€œIf he was to go walk in Philly right now everybody would be like, ‘€˜Damn what’€™s up, A.I.?’€™ You’€™re the man and this and that. He’€™s up there in that elite class with Mo, Doc, Fo, Fo, Fo, Feets, Hersey the Hawk, Bobby Jones. You definitely have to have Chuck in there. It can go in any type of order depending on who you’€™re talking to that knows their Philadelphia basketball history.’€

For the uninitiated that would be Mo Cheeks, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Andrew Toney and Bobby Jones, whose name was so perfect he didn’€™t need another one. Chuck was Bubba Chuck, Iverson’€™s other nickname. The one his friends call him as opposed to the ones given to him by marketers and the TV commentators.

Indelible yes, but Iverson also came with baggage. Lots and lots of baggage. His critics have had a field day of late with Iverson’€™s claims that he wouldn’€™t play a limited role for the Grizzlies and the Pistons the year before. They point to the fact that the Sixers got better when they traded him and that the Nuggets became a contender when they swapped him for Chauncey Billups.

It’€™s become harder for his defenders to make his case, especially when the basketball truths seem so self-evident that Iverson’€™s singular style has become more detriment than positive.

‘€œIt’€™s hard,’€ Allen said. ‘€œHe had issues in Memphis. What are other teams thinking? It’€™s hard to say. Overseas looks very attractive if he feels like he’€™s got basketball left in him. I’€™m sure he can make a good sum of money going overseas. Whether it’€™s it for him in the NBA, I would think that basketball isn’€™t out of his blood.’€

That’€™s the toughest thing about Iverson’€™s ‘€œretirement,’€ and why that word needs to have quotes around it. Iverson may not be done with basketball, but basketball may be done with him.

Turn up the volume: Pierce imposes his will

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Kevin Garnett was considered the missing piece last year as the Celtics missed out on defending their NBA title.

But listen to Garnett and Doc Rivers following Boston’s 113-110 win over the Philadelphia 76ers and you get the unmistakable sense that so far this season, it’s Paul Pierce who is indispensable.

Garnett said Pierce imposed his will on the game, leading the Celtics with a game-high 27 points and taking a charge on Andre Iguodala down the stretch.

Doc Rivers calls Pierce the MVP, at least of the team if not the NBA.

Paul Pierce said he was just trying to do his thing.

Doc: Pierce is our MVP

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

After yet another brilliant outing from Paul Pierce –27 points, five rebounds, six assists and one gut-wrenching charge — Celtics coach Doc Rivers didn’t hold back in his praise.

“He’s been MVP to me,” Rivers said. “Now only with his play, but all over. He was on guys in the second quarter and then at halftime about our play. He’s doing everything you ask him to do. He’s guarding guys, he’s rebounding, he’s making big shots, he’s taking charges. I mean, I don’t know what else. He can cook Thanksgiving dinner for someone and then he’ll be doing it all. He’s been terrific.”

With the Celtics up by two points and less than a minute to play, Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala got up a full head of steam and went straight to the basket. Iguodala is listed at 207 pounds, but at least 200 of that is muscle. Pierce stepped into the lane and took the contact.

“Well you know, it’s what we talk about,” Pierce said. “If the charge is there the coach wants us to step up and take the charge. That’s pretty much the only thing I could have done in that situation.”

Later in the game with the Celtics holding a three-point lead, Pierce and Rajon Rondo both executed the Celtics strategy to foul with less than 10 seconds remaining and not give the opponent a chance to tie the game.

“That’€™s something we talk about,” Pierce said. “That’€™s something we work on in practice. We were in that situation last year against the Bulls [in the playoffs] and Ben Gordon made a 3 and we should have fouled. That’€™s our strategy if it’€™s under 10 seconds that’€™s our strategy to foul.”